The news that six homes have been approved for Powder Hill may please Quidi Vidi Village but most of us look towards the village, and see just the green hill. It has felt like a park.
It is a park. Does anyone remember that?
When Loblaws built its supermarket in King George V Park, it was because the council of that time decreed that they could sell the land … which was part of the park.
A local doctor suggested a concert hall on the lake … which would have made us a star attraction around the world.
But the only vision on council at that time was of a large D (I can think of a short and pithy word beginning with that letter).
The Tiffany Towers project is another decision recently approved by council on the flight path leading to and from the airport, the developer will put up two 16-storey towers.
This decision was made despite the protests of people who live there and know that square block of land is heavily populated — at least half of it ought to have been kept as green space.
On a foggy day any pilot will have to be warned to keep well above the towers.
I can imagine it may be hard to sell a penthouse suite with a jetliner rumbling a hundred feet above you.
I wouldn’t bet on the towers being highly sought after residences.
As for the other apartment buildings, homes, and institutional residences on the same square block of land, who cared about them?
Not this City.
A couple of friends have just returned from a year in Boulder, Colo. Over dinner the other night we heard how the city of Boulder is operating so that it has a booming economy and a beautiful face to present to the world.
The city itself owns 70,000 acres of green space, which will remain green space.
The county owns 100,000 acres: ditto.
That is forward thinking.
The environment there is considered so valuable that in that city (population of 100,000) conservationists, ecologists, biologists of many types are considered highly necessary and are permanent employees of the city and county governments.
People clamour to live in Boulder, but many have to commute from satellite towns some miles away because housing prices and land prices in the city are so high.
Boulder’s council are keeping their eyes on saving what is valuable, whereas our once-stunning City of St. John’s has been extremely busy killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.
I have found few people who approve of what the city is doing to its image, and a great many who do not.
I wish more people were in the habit of speaking out, but they have discovered something: no one in government will listen.
That’s because governments like their bread buttered whichever side lands uppermost.
And sadly, in St. John’s, the bread seems to fall to those who care nothing about what made this place a perfect place to live: its natural beauty.
It’s fast disappearing behind towers and structures which hog the views.
Those running for council in the fall look like more of the same.
Sad, sad times.